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Arsenal boss Unai Emery reveals the two questions he asked Nicolas Pepe before Burnley win


Pepe has impressed in his two cameo appearances so far this season for Arsenal.

The club’s record signing had a shortened pre-season after completing a £72m switch from Lille.

He played a key role as Ivory Coast reached the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations a little over a month ago.

And Emery claims Pepe is still feeling the effects of a busy summer.

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The 24-year-old is yet to start for Arsenal.

He played just 19 minutes in the opener at Newcastle, before being thrown on at half time against Burnley on Saturday.

And Emery says that he is not quite ready to start yet after asking him two questions before the Clarets clash.

“Pepe’s impact is very good. 45 minutes, he’s with us only two weeks and he needs more to be fully fit,” the Spaniard said.

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Nicolas Pepe failed to start against Burnley despite training hard last week

“Also, I spoke with him yesterday about how he’s feeling every day with us, how he’s feeling before the match, and he’s feeling progressively better but he needs more [time] and I think today 45 minutes for him was perfect.”

Emery also spoke about how he has added strength in depth to his squad this summer.

The Gunners splashed £137m to bring in a wealth of talent from across the world.

And he added: “One thing we wanted to improve is to be competitive in each position in the squad. For example today Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil, Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin are out.

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Emery has spoken out on Nicolas Pepe's fitness
Emery has spoken out on Nicolas Pepe’s fitness

“We have different options with big performances. When every player is good to play then perfect. But the way is long, the season is long. Different issues and circumstances are coming for each player. We need to be competitive.

“Last year we lost some points at moments where we didn’t have different possibilities for some matches.

“This year I prefer to have important players on the bench with the possibility to have good impact after.

“The team is going to be more competitive, that’s always my idea.”



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